Christmas 2016 : Feeling blessed

I am writing this from the quiet of my home, on the day after Christmas. It is dark out, everyone is sleeping and I am sitting here sipping coffee, enjoying my tree and its blinking lights. I love mornings like this and I can not help but feel thankful and blessed for my Christmas weekend and family.  So here is some randomness about my weekend and the week leading up to it.

Monday to Friday: Life

  • I worked out 4 days. Running. Weights. Full body workouts. Still going strong with a 6 week program with Amanda Tress.20161223_122610
  • We have a small studio apartment that needs to be completely refurbished. So I had 2 estimates done, chose the person to do the work then went and picked out tile, countertop and flooring. So many choices ! 20161223_152318
  • Did some cooking. Yummy roasted Brussel sprouts ! I was craving these and I found a recipe where you flavor them with oil + balsamic vinegar. 20161224_122643
  • More cooking, wrapping, cleaning and some last minute shopping.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we go to my SIL’s and on Christmas, we are all at our place. So Saturday, I decluttered, cleaned & double checked my menu. We went to pick out bread to go with our foie gras. Fig is typical, but we also got pistachio / cranberry. It was SO.GOOD.20161224_095134We also went to the market with my husband to pick up what we needed. Saturday evening we went to mass with my husband’s entire family. It was from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. By the time we got to my SIL’s and sat down to eat it was 10 p.m. On the menu :

  • Apetizers with champagne
  • Starter : fois gras
  • Main dish : lamb with semoule
  • Cheese

At midnight we opened some gifts, then about 1:15 a.m. (yes !) we had dessert. I was home, in bed by 3 a.m. We don’t  usually open gifts that evening, but one of my niece’s wouldn’t be there Christmas.




Christmas : Pure joy

I am an early riser, no matter if I went to bed at 3 or not. So I was up early, and waited for everyone else to awake. We were opening the rest of our presents by 10 a.m. Santa was very nice to me.


We then got ready for Christmas lunch. There were 16 of us. Everyone was here by 2 p.m. The menu :

  • Appetizers of foie gras (yes, again. This is very typical in France around the holidays) with champagne20161225_142942
  • Lunch was beef roast (we bought 7+ pounds of meat and the 16 of us We had also made sweet potato puree with vanilla, roasted potatoes & salad.20161225_151816 20161225_151826 20161225_151756
  • No cheese ! It is too much.
  • More chocolate desserts, family recipes.

Then we skyped with the part of my husband’s family who are living in Africa.


Most of my nieces and nephew are now in college or working their first job. We don’t all live close so it is wonderful to have the time to catch up. Seeing them grow up, gain independence and start their professional lives is so wonderful. It is interesting, out of the 10 who were there…. we have 2 doctors, one surgical nurse, and people working in banking, wine, luxury good, international relations, and an upcoming artist and engineer. They are buying their first apartments, traveling around the world, but very few are settling in just yet !

It was a wonderful weekend.

I wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and a wonderful new year ! And special thoughts to those who are alone, suffering, have lost a loved one or do not have a reason to enjoy the holidays.


And that’s a wrap !

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.


Tell me one thing you enjoyed about your weekend !


Five French holiday traditions

As we prepare for the Christmas weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some typical French traditions from my family. I have been in France over 23 years and besides the few years I went back to the US for Christmas, the following pretty much describes every single year.

  1. Christmas is about family (as opposed to New Year’s which is usually spent with friends). My husband has several siblings and we spend the 24th and 25th together. The 24th we go to mass, then to my sister in law’s. She makes a full sit down meal and we dine from about 10 to midnight. The next day, everyone comes to our place early afternoon. We open gifts then have a big, sit down lunch that lasts a good part of the afternoon. My favorite part of these 2 days is the pictures of all my nieces (and one nephew). So much fun to see them grow up every year.2014-12-24 22.31.16 2014-12-25 00.17.00We are just missing one SIL and BIL who are currently in Africa but will be back next year. So we have our annual Skype session.20151225_162703
  2. France wouldn’t be France without the food. Fois gras, smoked salmon, beef filet roast.

    Foie gras

    Foie gras

  3. France wouldn’t be France without champagne. It is our aperitif go to drink.2014-12-25 00.05.53
  4. Family desserts. My husband’s family loves to cook and there are several desserts that they make each year. And we spend hours debating over which one is best… the one made by my husband, my SIL or my MIL.2014-12-25 15.52.45
  5. Thankfulness. I try not to forget this each year. I have a family who is happy, healthy, everyone gets along and likes being together. We don’t see each other that often, but when we do we fully enjoy it. The last time was at my niece’s wedding in September, so I am very happy that in such a short time we will get to see each other again. All grown up !20160924_182933

I have noticed that my kids and husband are so attached to these traditions. As soon as I want to innovate, change the menu, or do anything differently, I get a huge push back. As my niece got married this year, she will be spending Christmas day with her new family. That means presents will need to be the 24th. Yeah, my kids are freaking out because of the change !

I am excited to be joining Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Check back next week for some updated pictures from this year’s Christmas.



What are your favorite holiday traditions ?

What does your family debate when they get together ? Is food a big topic ?

My year in running

I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, Erika at MCM Mama runs and Patty at My no guilt life for Tuesdays on the run, where this week’s topic is the year in bling or pictures.


2016 ? Best.running.year.ever. Great races, no injury & running friends. 

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. 


Races. I ran six races. While for many of you runners that is not a lot, considering all the travel I do for work, and the fact that two of these were marathons, I am darn proud. I trained faithfully and nailed a 15 minute PR on my second marathon.

Nice half marathon in January :


Paris Marathon in April :20160403_153556

Versailles 15K in June :


LGBT Pride run in NYC in June :


La Parisienne in September :


NYC Marathon in November :medal-cantral-park


Injury free. I was very careful about prevention & recovery and my podiatrist was one of my best friends all year.20161015_133506

Runner friends. Met some great running bloggers, Judy, Darlene & Jen.



Ran with my colleagues too.


If I look at the running goals I had set for the year, they were to run one race per month and run my first marathon.  I quickly found that the race per month was too much. Either it didn’t fit into my travel schedule, or my training plan, so I didn’t put the pressure on myself to achieve this. The second goal was surpassed, so I think it made up for not fully achieving my first goal.

And in 2017 ? Definitely shorter distances. I am currently signed up for 2 races in February and am thinking about several in April & May. The Disneyland Paris half marathon in September is also on my list.

Otherwise, if you haven’t read my blog recently, I am planning a (temporary ??) blog break starting on January 1st. That will be my 3 year blogversary. I  need to prepare my daughter going off to college, plus I have a lot of work travel, so a break it will be, ….and the motivation is currently wagging. I will still be active on Instagram, so please keep in touch. And I will be blogging between now and January 1st, so please check back !

Did you achieve your 2016 goals ?

What is the one accomplishment you are most pleased about ?


After Maine… New Jersey

After spending 4 days in Maine with my parents, I flew to NJ on Sunday for work. The week was a lot less eventful and very cold !  The highlights of the week :

Fitness : I worked out The hotel had a small but decent gym.

  • Monday : 30 minutes of sprints on the bike followed by 30 minutes low impact cardio
  • Tuesday : 30 minutes of sprints on the elliptical followed by 30 minutes low impact cardio
  • Wednesday : killer full body workout with weights and some HIIT. Squat jumps, burpees, pushups… It took me over an hour to do the entire workout but I pushed through.20161214_074018-01
  • Thursday : Ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill20161214_072614-01
  • Friday : 45 minute lower body workout & two mile walk through the airport.20161216_155026-01
  • Saturday : arrived in France after flying back. Jetlagged, no workout.
  • Sunday : As I write this I am planning on running or swimming.

Otherwise, here is some randomness :

  • BFF. My college roommate lives in central NJ so we try to get together every time I am there. We went out to dinner Monday to catch up on life.
  • B-WICO. Baby was it cold outside ! Mid teens / low twenties. While I grew up in Maine, we do not get that kind of cold weather in France. Ever. And I am glad.
  • Frozen dessert. Despite the cold, some of this may have happened. I stay in a hotel with a kitchen so I can prepare some of my own food. This didn’t last the 5 days I was there. Just saying.20161214_185638-01
  • Christmas shopping. I did a little bit but wasn’t very successful. I wanted a pair of these, but went to several stores and called around. No luck. I am usually done my shopping by mid November, so the fact that I still have a couple things to buy is extremely stressful for me. 20161214_145821-01
  • Proud parents. I have been posting about the school my daughter wants to go to in the US, Ringling College of Art & Design in Florida, for computer animation. She spent all of October on her application for early decision. Verdict ? She got in ! It is the second best school in the US for what she wants to study, so needless to say, we are all pretty happy and very excited (but scared). Now we just need to figure out how to afford it. No small task. Some of her recent work :fb_img_1482050892375

And that’s a wrap !

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Is it cold where you live ? 

Finished your shopping yet ?


Beautiful Maine

As I write this, I am sitting in a hotel room in NJ, in the states for work this week. I took advantage of this business trip to take a couple days off and fly up to Maine to spend some time with my parents. We had a wonderful four days, and I saw lots of friends & family.

So here is a glimpse in photos, into some highlights of my week :

I did some Christmas shopping with my mom. Neither of us like to shop, but a trip to Maine wouldn’t be complete without a stop at LL Bean.


We picked up a Christmas tree and decorated it. I would LOVE to have a real tree, but our apartment in Paris is too dry for it to last long. And you would never find something as full and beautiful as this :


We negotiated the price at 25 dollars. The price of trees was a topic of discussion all weekend….

I went to two parties, and also spent an evening out with my BFF from high school. Gluten free pizza and some drinks and gelato were part of the evening, before crashing by 11 p.m. We are such party animals.


I exercised five days this week, which is good considering international travel and change of routine. I ran in Paris on Monday & Tuesday where the weather continued to be gorgeous.


Wednesday was a long day of travel. There was NO RUNNING in Maine. The weather was so cold, and I am clearly not equipped.


So I did weights, high intensity and full body workouts in my parent’s warm basement. Thursday was legday, Saturday was chest / back / arms & Sunday was legs & Jillian Michael’s ab video. I needed all of that after the Holiday treat indulging I did.


I also had a full body, deep tissue massage. Hurts like x@*!# but feels so good.

Yeah, it was a good week.

And that’s a wrap !

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Do you like deep tissue massage ? 

How much is a real tree where you live ?